It didn't take long for him to notice the make up was starting to fade. Gradually, as the cuts and bruises became more apparent, the make-up did less and less for him. Being a male, he was never proud of wearing it but he had no choice. The last thing he needed was everyone down his neck about the marks, questioning where he got them and who was responsible. The last thing he wanted was to have his lover in trouble. He knew the other meant no harm, that he had a lot to deal with and sometimes it was just too much to handle. He understood why the other did what he did, and he accepted every bit of it as it came his way.

There were times though that he felt the only thing keeping him around was the game he loved to play. To hear the familiar squeak of the shoes on the gymnasium floor. To feel the vibrations of the ball as it bounced next to his feet, and the thrill he received every time he made a basket. Slowly though, he could feel his only escape being taken away from him. As the days went on, it seemed the beatings grew more intense, and they were taking an obvious toll on his body. Practice, which was once so simple to him, was becoming a task in and of itself. He knew though that the other's would catch on if he continued to drag along, and he continued to push himself.

He couldn't remember when everything started. When he would think back, he would simply remember sputtering out his feelings only to receive a dull acceptance from the other. They were connected because of the game but he wanted more, he wanted to make more out of the boy he admired so dearly from all those years back. He wanted to be by his side, to watch and to learn, to love and to be loved. Their love started out simple, or his love did, at least. A simple confession turned into something more intimate and when the other didn't toss him to the side afterwards, he took it as what he grew to perceive as 'love'.

It would happen in an easily remembered pattern. They'd go about their days, their lives seperated for those few hours. After their practices finished, he rush to meet the other, and obediently follow him home. It was then that everything would change. The happiness he would feel through out the day, just thinking of seeing his lover, would melt away. With every hit, he'd slip further and further into the darkness, though he would never let himself give up. At the end, whether it was just a beating, a rape, or both, he'd smile for the male. He'd clean himself up and stumble back to the bed, where he'd lay awake while the other slept peacefully.

He'd lay and wonder what it meant to be loved, and if what he was getting was just that. Of course he was always used to attention from the people around him, and he was used to confessions from the girls who claimed to care about him, the countless people who claimed to love him. His heart was only filled with the male who laid next to him though, and he was growing accustomed to the love that he was being shown.

Never did he cry, even when he would stand and stare at his reflection. At what he was becoming, at how he was slowly falling to pieces. At how everything that he was, was being completely stripped away from him. It was all for the sake of love, wasn't it? Everything he was doing, everything he was putting up with, it was to be loved. It was because, despite every bruise and scar, he longed for the other's love. It couldn't be just anybody, it had to be that boy. That boy whose back he always chased after. That boy who was everything in his eyes. That boy who opened him to a world he never imagined he'd enter.